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Bill Moyers: Suppressing Votes By Law

US Politics & Gov't  (tags: americans, corruption, dishonesty, elections, ethics, Govtfearmongering, lies, media, politics, propaganda, republicans )

- 2140 days ago -
This week, Bill talks to Keesha Gaskins and Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice about new voter ID and other election laws that keep the young, elderly, minorities and the poor from exercising one of the most fundamental American rights.

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Angela N (0)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 12:05 pm

Kit B (276)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 12:12 pm

This week, Bill talks to Keesha Gaskins and Michael Waldman of the Brennan Center for Justice about new voter ID and other election laws that keep the young, elderly, minorities and the poor from exercising one of the most fundamental American rights.

“When these votes come under attack by this level of partisan gamesmanship, it’s completely inappropriate and antithetical to our history,” Gaskins tells Bill. “This is a very real political issue, but beyond that, this is a real issue of real Americans being able to access and be self-determinative in how we’re governed.”


BILL MOYERS: Welcome. Later in this broadcast we’ll take a look at the face of global capitalism, red in tooth and claw. Yes, I’m talking about America’s number one self-promoter, Donald Trump, who, when he hasn’t been firing fading TV stars on “The Celebrity Apprentice” or speaking for the anti-Obama birther cult, or providing red meat for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, has been digging up the ancient beaches of Scotland to build a luxury golf course for his pals, the idle rich. More on that coming up.

But first, a threat to democracy even more dangerous than the Donald. Across the country one state legislature after another has been making it harder for certain people to vote, especially by requiring them to show a government-issued photo id before they can cast their ballot. Ask what’s going on, and they solemnly respond, “We’re just trying to prevent voter fraud.” Ask them for evidence of that fraud, and they shamelessly shrug the shoulders and excuse themselves to go answer the door bell that’s not ringing because there’s no one there.

Last week, for example, in Pennsylvania’s state capital, Harrisburg, a thousand people gathered to protest a new photo ID law that could disenfranchise one in ten voters, including as much as 18 percent of the voters in Philadelphia -- even though state officials have said they have no reason to believe that fraud has occurred in the past or will in the future.

No one’s following the issue more keenly than the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School. Its new report, "The Challenge of Obtaining Voter Identification," finds that new voter ID rules already are in place in nine states, some of them swing states, with more than 57 million eligible voters who could determine which candidates get 127 electoral votes, nearly half the 270 needed to win the White House.

Keesha Gaskins is the co-author of that report. She’s a long-time organizer, lobbyist, trial attorney, and Senior Counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program.

Michael Waldman has been the president of the Brennan Center for Justice since 2005. During the Clinton administration, he was a Special Assistant to the President and a top White House policy aide on campaign finance reform.

Welcome to you both.

By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company | Interview and Video | Truthout |

See Visit Site for full interview transcript and/or video.

Kit B (276)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 12:18 pm

I am so disappointed that people have allowed this suppression of the very basic right to vote, into a major issue. This country does not have a Voter Fraud problem, what we do have is bigots and racists creating a problem. When the republicans themselves admit that in ten years any form of Voter Fraud is less than seven tenths of a human being for all fifty states, then what we are seeing is hostility toward those who are older, poor or people of color. Of course, an opportunity to attempt to slant the vote toward Romney.

Roger G (154)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 2:47 pm
noted thanks !

John Farnham (52)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 3:28 pm
It's been going on since the election of GW Bush - if not earlier. Karl Rove has quite a history - some of which has hit a story I just submitted from AlterNet I reference BradBlog as the authoritative source on election perversion. Rigged voting machines are part of the stock in trade of election robbing.

SuSanne P (193)
Thursday August 9, 2012, 9:42 pm
Thank you Kit as you said it far better than I ever could, in your statement:
"This country does not have a Voter Fraud problem, what we do have is bigots and racists creating a problem. When the republicans themselves admit that in ten years any form of Voter Fraud is less than seven tenths of a human being for all fifty states, then what we are seeing is hostility toward those who are older, poor or people of color."

. (0)
Friday August 10, 2012, 1:07 am
I do not live in the US and I am not familar with US politics so I tend to avoid commenting on posts such as these as I simply do not fully understand but this is a pretty scary concept. Limiting in any way the right of those entitled to vote to do so is surely a step too far. I've said it before Kit and I'll say it again, thank you for posting, you are one of the people who make Care2 such an interesting site for me.

Lawrence Travers (8)
Friday August 10, 2012, 7:02 am
Any legislator voting for thses types of laws should be Federally charged with TREASON....and then shot.

Kit B (276)
Friday August 10, 2012, 7:48 am

Thank you, Howard. I find people from other countries often make a greater effort to try and understand our political stew then Americans ever bother understanding any one else. That's a part of our exceptional-ism, we are exceptionally dull, lacking in knowledge or understanding of our own system much less that of other countries.

To John Farnham's point, there are some excellent documentary movies, available free online, about the elections of 2000 and 2004; "Stealing America", "Who Runs the Show" and "Hacking Democracy" and many others.

Arielle S (313)
Friday August 10, 2012, 7:58 am
If they can't win fairly, they are going to lie, cheat, steal, and manipulate - the shame comes in them getting away with it. We may think we are so much better than third world countries but we are fast becoming more like than better.

M A Paddock (19)
Friday August 10, 2012, 9:20 am
It is not that difficult to obtain an i.D. and citizens should be willing to do that to make sure voting is more just. The worst issue to deal with voting right now is the effort of the federal government to stop the military votes from being counted. This issue of not allowing them more time when they are overseas is just another way of banning what they are afraid of: negative votes for them. It is biased and un-American to say the least.

Susanne R (235)
Friday August 10, 2012, 8:25 pm
The interview reveals ways to overcome voter suppression:

KEESHA GASKINS: What you can do-- individuals can engage. There are organizations out there, and we'll use the name League of Women Voters one more time. The NAACP, Rock the Vote, all these organizations, State Voices, they're all out there working to help identify voters who need ID. Again, our report will help identify people who are in these areas that need more help than others. There are ways to fight back, as we saw citizens in Maine, citizens in Ohio really, really push back--

BILL MOYERS: What happened in Ohio?

KEESHA GASKINS: In Ohio, it was a citizen petition. They gathered enough signatures to actually block the implementation of a massive suppressive voter bill, which then got thrown to the ballot, and then, the legislature withdrew the bill.

BILL MOYERS: Who led that effort?

KEESHA GASKINS: It was a citizen-led effort, right. I mean, this was--

BILL MOYERS: Regular citizens, folks at the grass roots level?

KEESHA GASKINS: Folks at the grass roots level led that effort, went out, got the signatures and got it to the point where it had to be on the ballot where the legislature had to push back and actually withdraw the legislation. That-- it can be done. And the fact is, look at the mechanisms in the individual states. Look at how people can help, and there are real and meaningful ways to help people overcome these issues as the laws are implemented, and to also fight the laws in places where you can.

As Bill Moyers pointed out: Earlier this summer, the Republican majority leader of the state House of Representatives in Pennsylvania, Mike Turzai, when he was boasting about the accomplishments of the legislature under Republican control, listed as one of their major accomplishments, quote, voter ID.

Mike Turzai's comment regarding his major accomplishment: "Voter ID, which is going to allow Governor Romney to win: done!"

If that doesn't provide the incentive to take action against voter suppression, I don't know what will!

Kit B (276)
Friday August 10, 2012, 10:21 pm

In Maine people voted it down and in Texas...well of course it slipped on through the state legislature with out any of the news talking about any of this. In Texas we already have a law about ID, what did we need with more laws on voting? Well, it's Texas....

Very true Susanne, this can only be stopped by the people on the ground and many of the organizations listed are also offering training to people.

Jaime Alves (52)
Friday August 10, 2012, 11:01 pm
Thanks for info.

pam w (139)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 1:46 pm
Bill Moyers is a national treasure!

Michael T (82)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 6:36 pm
Kit thanks for another great article. Kit, pam w and others I cannot tell you all how delighted I was to see Bill Moyers come out of retirement to document and investigate how horrible this country has become. I know there are those legions of folk out there who call me, and others, a socialist, a bleeding heart liberal etc and et al.

I have watched Bill ever since he returned often watching his programs a second time as they are rebroadcast again on Monday after noon via my cable package, as well as saving each one in my favorites to rewatch again as often as I am so inclined.

Some 20 years ago, the RNC agreed to a commitment to the Election Commission to stop their former practices in regard to their illicit behaviors in influencing elections and recently filed a request to back off from that commitment. Their timing in this couldn't be better and was very likely arranged intentionally so close to the election so as to make it difficult for the DOJ to be able to respond in a timely manner shutting down through legal procedures the efforts to deny people the right to vote. In addition, they have done everything they can to flood the DOJ with distracting investigations, which occur in addition to all of the Casino banking scandals that seem to appear one after the other, and overburden Holder knowingly preventing their action. As a result, many of these voter laws, patently illegal will interfere with the upcoming election as the DOJ cannot get to them all.

These actions are so treasonous so insidious as to defy belief and are not unlike the efforts by JP Morgan, the DuPonts and a host of GOP legislators who hired former Marine General Smedly Butler to overthrow FDR in the 30's.

Most Americans are completely unaware of this. We live in very dangerous times as it is, not only in theory, a planned overthrow of the government in the guise of an election.

Kit B (276)
Saturday August 11, 2012, 8:49 pm

Thank you, Michael, very well said, and so true.
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